Let’s keep our kids safe as they hurry back to school this week
Regina, SK (Sept. 1, 2022) – Excited kids across the country are heading back to classes this week. Kids will be looking forward to meeting their new teachers, seeing new (and old) friends and sitting at a new desk in a new classroom.
But what isn’t new this school year is a reduced speed limit in school zones. The lower speed limits are in place for good reason – school zones are hives of activity with the bustle of students, teachers and parents.
Drivers who obey the adjusted speed limit and avoid distractions like cellphone use when passing through school zones will find themselves at the head of the class.
“There is a lot going on within a school zone,” said JP Cullen, Chief Operating Officer of SGI Auto Fund. “We have students of all ages entering and exiting buses, playing on playgrounds and walking or running in crosswalks and pedestrian crossings. Some of those students, as excited as they may be getting back to school and seeing their friends, may not be paying attention to vehicle traffic on the roads. That’s why drivers need to slow down and be aware of everything that is going on around them.”
Slowing down allows a driver more reaction time and will help in preventing a collision.
Getting caught speeding through a school zone, however, comes with a punishment worse than being sent to the principal’s office.
For example, getting caught driving 20 km/h over the posted limit would be $310 in Saskatchewan.
“Vehicle-pedestrian collisions in school zones are, fortunately, very rare,” said Elizabeth Popowich with the Regina Police Service. “One of the reasons for that is the reduced speed limits drivers are required to follow when they approach schools.”
As any teacher can tell you, kids don’t always follow directions and their attention to instruction may come and go. That’s why drivers need to be aware and watch for kids popping out from between parked vehicles or jaywalking. When school buses are stopped with amber lights flashing, drivers need to slow down and ensure it is safe before passing.
“We want to ensure that every child makes it to school safely,” said Kim Onrait, Executive Director of Citizen Services at the City of Regina. “School and playground zones are clearly marked with signage so drivers know the speed limit, where they can or can’t park and where the crosswalks are so children can walk safely and provide clear sightlines for drivers and students.”
Also, a reminder to drivers in Saskatoon and Yorkton that speed limits in elementary school and playground zones will be 30 km/hr, effective Sept. 1. Going forward, the school zone speed limit will be in effect year-round, seven days a week as it is in Regina. In Saskatoon, the school zone speed limit will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Yorkton, the change will in effect from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. However, limits (and when they’re in effect) vary in different municipalities, so please pay attention to the signage wherever you are driving.
Other ways we can #KeepKidsSafe:
- Drive without distraction; leave the phone alone and just drive.
- Pay attention to pedestrian crossing lights and crossing guards.
- Exercise caution around school buses as they are loading and unloading.
- Avoid U-turns in school zones (some municipalities have by-laws that prohibit them).
- Don’t add to school zone congestion; obey the signs declaring “no stopping” zones.
- If you’re dropping kids off, do it on the same side of the street as the school.
- Never drop off your kids at crosswalks. Teach them to cross at crosswalks and not jaywalk.
- When they do cross, they should look both ways, make eye contact with the driver and wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop.
Take care out there.
About SGI CANADA
SGI CANADA is the property and casualty insurance division of SGI, offering products in five Canadian provinces. It operates as SGI CANADA in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, and also as Coachman Insurance Company in Ontario. Products are sold through a network of independent insurance brokers. For more information, visit www.sgicanada.ca.
Source: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)Tags: driving safety, SGI